Towards building Ummah consciousness

The Spirit Of Islam

Sohaib Baig

IF one truly believes in Islam as a whole, one must believe that the needs of the Ummah supersede his or her own needs. Our enormous energies and talents deserve not to be wasted away in corporate offices, but rather in the service of the greater good of humanity. Becoming doctors, engineers, or accountants is certainly not inherently wrong- but we must realise that building the character of a nation, that curing them of spiritual diseases, is much harder and requires ten times more resources than building the infrastructure of a nation.
Obviously, as long as the bulk of all individual energies are being used to secure personal careers, Muslims on a whole will never tap into their potential to bring reform and prosperity. Often, being an Islamic activist is only tolerated as a hobby – but if it is accorded its proper station as one’s true calling in life, it will be feared greatly, almost as if it surely portends poverty and ruin. Islam, though, is not meant to be taken up as a hobby, but as a life calling – and until we forgo our individualistic dreams and build grander dreams for the Ummah, one cannot have high expectations for the future. This is the fundamental mistake made by Muslims today, and in reality, it is this mistake which threatens ruin and destruction on the Muslim community.
If one believes the state of affairs of the Ummah to be pathetic today, we must believe ourselves individually to be pathetic as well. We have become desensitised to the plight of the world – how else can one describe our historically unprecedented ability to hear tragedy after tragedy, yet go back to spend hours watching TV and chatting on Internet and mobile phones? Social media claims to serve our powers of seeing and hearing, but in reality, it has taken control of our faculties of thinking, by controlling what we see and how we see. Ironically, we often accuse our brethren living in Muslim majority countries of being too sensitive, of being too combustible and manipulated by those who seek to give Islam a bad name.
Yet few realise that we too, awash in our luxuries and numbed into silence and inaction by them, are also being manipulated by those same forces. There is not much to fear from a Muslim who views his own life as more important than the Ummah – but an “Ummah conscious” Muslim will always be a threat to their corrupt interests. We must find a way to collectively fight back against these sterilising forces, of creating new forces and institutions that are free from these dangers, and learn to orient our lives and ambitions toward the service of Allah and all of His creation.
And if we can accomplish that, undoubtedly our future descendants will surely come upon a time, God-Willing, where decent men and women all over the world from Haiti to China will smile freely, and feel relieved at having found out that the forces of good have not been vanquished, that goodness and altruism still shine throughout Allah’s earth, like the morning glow rejuvenates us after the lethargy of the night.
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